T he Greenies boys were back on the road for Round 5, traversing across the mighty Harbour Bridge before navigating through the maze that is the Sydney University campus to finally reach the ground.
Unfortunately, due to my shocking navigation skills, yours truly along with bowling coach Josh Seward were slightly late to the team huddle, where a tense round of A-Z was already taking place.
After some rather questionable interpretations of the category “boys names” were thrown out, Roop Dhillon was victorious and ensured he would escape without monetary punishment during the next fines meeting.
The traditional Vortex championship resumed, with both the Hulios and Nerds sitting on two wins apiece leading into the fifth match of the season. With so much on the line, the Nerds delivered one of the more disappointing performances with a lack of game management, allowing the Hulios to cruise to a comprehensive 3-1 victory. Billy O’Brien’s complaints about the standard of refereeing fell silent as he and his fellow Nerds realised they must pick up the slack if they are to right the wrongs of last season’s catastrophic series of performances, where the Hulios dominated the Vortex championship.
After a quick inspection of the Sydney Uni No.1 pitch (can confirm, it was very flat), Tahs skipper Josh Cooper wandered over for the coin toss. As the circular alloy of Copper and Nickel was flung into the air, the skipper gave a convincing call of “tails” before crossing his fingers as the coin tumbled back down to earth. Tails it was, and Coops had zero hesitation in informing the opposition captain that the Manly boys would be wielding the willow for the first innings. Tahs batting first.
Charlie Johnston and Keelan Mendel opened the batting for the Tahs and got off to a positive start, taking the score to 17 without any risk before Charlie was bowled for 10. Keelan departed soon after, caught at slip for 8, to have the Tahs sitting nervously at 2-24.
The skipper along with vice captain Andrew Boulton looked to consolidate the innings, however, just as they started to build a partnership, Boults was caught behind for 16.
3-46 at drinks after 17 overs.
Roop Dhillon was caught and bowled in the first over after drinks, before the skipper departed for 13 in the same fashion as Keelan. Tahs 5-56.
Billy O’Brien started positively but was dismissed shortly after for 8, bringing Bailey Lidgard to the crease with young gun Ethan Buchanan.
6-84 at 2nd drinks after 34 overs.
Bailey was caught in the deep straight after the drinks break, before Ethan and Tom Karnaghan combined for a 22 run partnership. Ethan continued rotating the strike regularly and punishing the bad ball to the boundary, but was unfortunately run out for 36 just as he started to look dangerous.
Tommy and Sentarou Murata Davison then combined for a match winning 57 run partnership, which helped to push the Tahs towards a defendable total. Tommy (29) was energetic as always between the wickets whilst also cashing in on some loose bowling late, while Sentarou showcased some of his power hitting to finish with a crucial 34.
Even Josh Lawson, often speaking about his batting as if he were the next Ponting, provided a classy 1* to see the Tahs finish on 170, with Sentarou dismissed on the final ball of the innings.
Despite knowing we were probably 30+ runs short of par, the boys were keen to right the wrongs of Thursday’s loss where we weren’t able to defend a similar sized total.
The message from the coaches was clear. Finals cricket on the line so the boys knew they had to bowl well to keep their season alive.
Right on cue, Josh Lawson bowled a superb first over to see a catch behind to TK on the fourth ball of the innings. A very close LBW shout was denied the next delivery, but a great start for the Tahs bowling, Uni 1-5.
Uni began to build a steady partnership, however, never really got away from the Tahs thanks to tight bowling from Mitch Gilligan, Ethan and Sentarou.
Keelan Mendel was introduced into the attack and struck early in his spell to break the partnership with an LBW.
Uni 2-57 off 20 at drinks chasing 171.
Another slow but steady partnership built between Uni’s batsman, but the Tahs were always in the game with the required run rate slowly rising.
Charlie Johnston delivered the breakthrough with a smart run out from mid on, Uni 3-70.
Uni’s captain began to look threatening, however, Josh Cooper entered the attack and got the prized wicket of his opposing skipper for 26, thanks to a sharp stumping from TK. Uni 4-92.
Bailey Lidgard continued to dry up Uni’s run scoring opportunities, leading to another breakthrough with a safe catch from Charlie at mid on.
Uni 5-109 at 2nd drinks after 41 overs.
62 off 9 overs Uni needed at 6.8 per over.
After drinks Uni began to build a dangerous partnership, however, a run out from skipper Cooper off his own bowling along with a fortuitous stumping from TK the next ball saw the Tahs back in the box seat, Uni 7-127.
Ethan then composed himself to deliver a rocket throw from third man to see Uni’s new batsman short of his ground, before he took a safe catch at mid off to give the skipper his third wicket.
Keelan Mendel then grabbed the final wicket, Roop Dhillon holding onto a high catch at cover to see the Tahs victorious by 29 runs.
The team song was sung loud and proud, even with Bailey Lidgard struggling with the second verse after claiming prior to the song “I know all the words now.”
Coaches Gainsy and Rochy quickly pointed out the areas of improvement for the Tahs to rectify in the final two rounds, with the importance of sticking to simple plans with bat and ball, and staying in the fight for the full 100 overs the main areas addressed.
A great finish to the day for the Tahs after recovering from a very shaky start.
As always, a huge thank you to Gainsy, Rochy, Josh, Dougie, and Lozza for all their help on the day, and to all the parents for their help in getting the boys to the ground on time.
The boys go 4 from 5 heading into a four day break.
We take on St George next Tuesday (19th) at Olds Park in another crucial clash.
3 Points – Ethan Buchanan – 36(53), 1 catch, 1 run out
2 Points – Tom Karnaghan – 29(41), 1 catch, 2 stumpings
1 Point – Sentarou Murata Davison – 34(39)